As you are is an exploration in the subtleties of physical expression through body language, attitude and sartorial choices. Taking visual cues from street fashion photography, the collection of life-size portraits aims to capture the feeling of presence through the illustration of everyday Melburnians.
Our bodies are our connection to life. They’re what link us to the world. The way we dress, stand and hold ourselves tells a story about this relationship. I think this is what makes a portrait so interesting. Not intense beauty or striking features, but the subtleties in expression, posture, stance, that both hide and reveal at once. It’s this quiet tension between the internal and external that gives away who we are, and what I have aimed to capture in my work.
As you are is a collection of portraits of people I know. They’re everyday people, dressed as they would be on any day of their lives. It may be true what they say about the eyes being the window to the soul, but I think the door, lawn and mailbox say something too. And so it was important to me to capture their full body. I chose to remove them from their surroundings and place them in a completely white world so they could be transported anywhere. This, along with the life-size scale of the work, gives the sense of presence – that they’re standing here in the room with us.
Each portrait has been rendered in fineline pen and black pencil. In contrast to the simple composition, the drawings themselves delight in the detail. In many ways, As you are is about the craft of drawing itself. It’s an exploration of time, patience and repetition, of the discipline and commitment required to achieve mastery. With each piece taking between 50 – 100 hours to complete, they inadvertently tell a personal story of my battle with perfectionism, and relentless desire for excellence.